In a background where COVID-19 is rapidly destroying all the richest and poorest countries in the world into a tragic situation, I thought of sharing some knowledge about the COVID-19 virus and our very own immunity as the only weapon for our survival. The majority of people in our society and social media frequently discuss this health issue giving more attention to it. So this blog letter will bring you the answers to most of your questions.
What is COVID 19?
According to the WHO (World Health Organization), COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the newly discovered Coronavirus. Further this is a viral disease that spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. But older people and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness. Unfortunately, still there are no specific vaccines or treatments for COVID-19.
What is a virus?
A virus is a small, infectious acellular agent that consists of a core of genetic material (DNA or RNA) surrounded by a shell of protein. Besides this, the virus is inactive or nonfunctional when it is outside a living cell (host cell). Thus a virus needs a host cell to complete its life cycle. Viruses cause disease by infecting a host cell (human cell) and commandeering the host cell’s mechanisms to produce more viruses. It is like a host cell becoming a slave of the virus. There onwards the host cell is controlled by the virus.
The newly made viruses then leave the host cell, sometimes killing it in the process, and proceeding to infect other cells within the host (human). Because viruses invade cells, no drug therapy has yet been designed to kill viruses. Therefore the human immune system is the only defense against a viral disease. Further viruses can infect plants and bacteria as well. So now we know what the COVID-19 virus is in detail. But we all have a question whether there is medicine to kill viruses….
Is there a medicine that can kill viruses like antibiotics for bacteria?
Actually the answer is NO! There are antiviral substances that can defend the infection of viruses to the host cell. But these substances can’t kill them like antibiotics do. Antibiotics act against bacteria by stopping essential cellular developmental mechanism which requires for the existence of bacteria cell. This act will kill bacteria cells eventually. But still, there is no substance like that to kill infectious viruses. There are scientific reasons for that. Therefore the only weapon that can kill viruses is our very own immune system. Because of that, we have to strengthen up our immunity.
What is the human immune system? How does it work?
The human immune system is the body’s defense against infections. The immune system attacks germs and helps keep us healthy. Many cells and organs work together to protect the body. White blood cells, also called leukocytes, play an important role in the immune system.
Some types of white blood cells, called phagocytes, chew up invading organisms. Others, called lymphocytes, help the body remember the invaders and destroy them. One type of phagocyte is the neutrophil, which fights bacteria. Other types of phagocytes do their jobs to make sure that the body responds to invaders.
The two kinds of lymphocytes are B lymphocytes and T lymphocytes. Lymphocytes start in the bone marrow and either stay there and mature into B cells, or go to the thymus gland to mature into T cells. B lymphocytes are like the body’s military intelligence system — they find their targets and send defenses to lock onto them. T cells are like the soldiers — they destroy the invaders that the intelligence system finds.
Therefore the strength of the human immune system will decide whether the human could successfully attack the virus before it invades the human cells. That’s why doctors and other experts ask people to consume foods and beverages which can enhance human immunity. We can take many medicinal recipes from our very own indigenous medicine. Further, the human immunity system is the only fighter that can kill the COVID-19 virus right now. Thus, as a nation; as responsible people, we should maintain our immunity at the maximum level and obey the safety rules to eradicate the fatal pandemic, COVID-19!
- World Health Organization 2020, Corona Virus Available from:https://bit.ly/3dUm1f0
- The Gale Encyclopedia of Science 2020, Virus Available from:https://bit.ly/2UEZawj
- Larissa Hirsch MD 2019, Immune System (for Parents) Available from:https://bit.ly/2R8erUa